Ford To Add iTunes Tagging To HD Radio Units In Select 2011 Vehicles

It's pretty amazing to step back and take a look at just how big of an impact Apple and the iPod has had on the automotive industry. At first glance, you'd assume that the portable media player market and the auto sales market have little, if anything, in common, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Nearly anyone looking for a new automobile today will ask the dealership if the vehicle they are interested in has support for an iPod or MP3 player, and if it doesn't, it's a big turn-off. Even lower-end cars are learning to support the prolific device, and Ford understands this well. In order to better capitalize on the iPod demand, the company has just announced that it will become the first auto manufacturer to offer HD Radio technology with iTunes Tagging support.

The capabilities will be added to select 2011 vehicles when they go on sale next year, though Ford has yet to come clean with exact model names and such. If you're curious as to how the system will work, here's the deal: if you're tuned into an HD Radio station and you like whatever is playing, you can mash the dedicated "TAG" button to store that song's metadata (artist, track title, etc.) within the SYNC system. Up to 100 tracks can be stored before you'll need to plug your iPod in and download that information. When the data is on your iPod, you can then preview and/or purchase songs directly from within iTunes. Hence, iTunes Tagging.

Hey Apple, how's that iTunes ecosystem (and its halo effect) working out for you? Pretty well, we imagine.

  • Ford is the first auto manufacturer to offer HD Radio technology with iTunes® Tagging capability; this new functionality will be available next year
  • HD Radio technology captures free digital radio broadcasts, which eliminate static, fadeout and other problems associated with conventional analog radio signals; the result is FM audio that’s comparable to near-CD quality and AM audio that sounds like today’s FM broadcasts
  • HD Radio digital technology provides a number of advanced services not available with an analog radio. Extra FM channels, called HD2/HD3 channels, are delivered, as well as useful on-screen Program Service Data such as artist name and song title